Trending Articles

Friends of SOAR

For great posts about the business of art, check out The Artsy Shark HERE!
ArtistsBillofRights.org reviews competitions and appeals seeking creative content, listing those that respect your copyrights and highlighting those that don't. Art Matters! publishes calls to artists, and not all of them may be compliant with ABoR's standards. Visit their site to learn more.
We support the Embedded Metadata Manifesto.  Metadata is information such as copyright notice and contact info you can embed in your images to protect your intellectual property, save time when uploading to social sites and promote your art. Click to visit the site and learn more.

DIY – Square Envelope With Interlocking Heart Closure

After designing my square Valentine’s Day card, I decided to make a square envelope to go with it. I wanted an easy envelope, but one with a little extra pizzaz. So here’s my square envelope with interlocking heart closure.

My square envelopes with interlocking heart closure.

My square envelopes with interlocking heart closure.

My valentine cards are 4 inches square. By trial and error, I found that a 6 inch square made the perfect size for my card to fit in.

First I located the center of my paper, then folded each of the corners up to the center.

First I located the center of my paper, then folded each of the corners up to the center.

I started with a 6″ square piece of paper. On the inside of the paper I drew pencil lines (from corner to corner) to find the center of the paper. I folded each of the corners of the square to the center of the paper (see photo above).

Next, I glued hearts to the outside corners of the square paper.

Next, I glued hearts to the outside corners of the square paper.

To make the interlocking hearts, I cut hearts out of gold card stock and slightly smaller hearts out of paste paper. Most any colored or decorated papers will work. I glued the gold hearts to the corners of the envelope. I glued so that the corner of the envelope just peeked out of the “v” of the heart.

Next, I glued the paste paper hearts on top of the gold hearts.

Next, I glued the paste paper hearts on top of the gold hearts.

Next I glued the slightly smaller paste paper hearts on the gold hearts. This was the first time I used Zig 2-Way Glue. It was like using liquid glue in a ball point pen. I liked the ability to be very accurate with the glue. For those of us who are usually messy with glue, this looks to be a great alternative.

My Valentine card now can slip into the envelope. The hearts interlock, sort of like the flaps of a cardboard box.

My Valentine card now can slip into the envelope. The hearts interlock, sort of like the flaps of a cardboard box.

These envelopes cannot be sent through the mail. The ones that I need to mail will have to be put into a larger envelope. That’s okay as I think these envelopes are too lovely to be spoiled by postal cancellations.

Close up of square envelope with heart closure.

Close up of square envelope with interlocking heart closure.

The envelopes can be made in different sizes, as long as they are squares. A 7.5″ square creates an envelope that’s perfect for a 5″ square card. Experiment with different sizes of envelopes and hearts. Have fun!

Close up of a square envelope with interlocking hearts on a paste paper background.

Close up of a square envelope with interlocking hearts on a paste paper background.

Scrapbook papers would make for great envelopes, hearts for the envelopes and cards too.

This photo shows the inside and outside of my valentine card as well as the square interlocking heart envelopes.

This photo shows the inside and outside of my valentine cards as well as the square interlocking heart envelopes.

Play with this envelope and see just how creative you can get.

Enjoy, Candy

Studio Snapshot – Valentine Place Cards

As an incentive to practice my calligraphy, I took an online class last month from Martha Lever called CalligraFun. I have done brush lettering for years, and this class was a lot of playing with brush calligraphy and embellishments. So this past week I played around with different ideas for place cards for our brunch on Valentine’s Day.

These are two of the Valentine Place Cards I am making for the 7 of us who will be having Valentine's Day Brunch together.

These are two of the Valentine Place Cards I am making for the 7 of us who will be having Valentine’s Day Brunch together.

A group of seven to nine friends and family have Sunday Brunch together each Sunday. Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday this year, so I decided it would be fun to make Valentine Place Cards for our table.

Some of my practice lettering.

Some of my practice lettering for Valentine Place Cards.

It has been so much fun trying out new ideas for lettering names. I used the brushes and pens I had on hand, but now am going to go out and buy a few more colors.

Playing with ideas for lettering names.

Playing with ideas for lettering names.

Different pens and different papers give different results. I have decided that I will use watercolor paper for my final place cards.

Playing with different brush pens and papers. Practice can be a lot of fun too!

Playing with different brush pens and papers. Practice can be a lot of fun too!

 

It’s been a special week full of birthdays and calligraphy. I loved it!!!

Happy lettering, Candy

DIY – Painting Paper For Heart Cube Box

I wanted to make some Heart Cube Boxes for Valentine gifts, but I didn’t like the colors of papers I had on hand. So, I painted some. Here’s how I painted them.

Heart Cube Boxes made from my painted papers.

Heart Cube Boxes made from my painted papers.

First I found the papers I wanted to use. I used two types of paper, neither of which I tried to fold before starting. Big mistake! One of the papers folded perfectly and the other cracked when I folded it. Second, I printed out the template on the back of the paper before I painted the paper. Believe me, it’s much easier that way.

Getting ready for painting my paper with acrylic paints mixed with acrylic matte medium.

Getting ready for painting my paper with acrylic paints mixed with acrylic matte medium.

I started with 4 different acrylic paints in reds, pink and purple. I mixed them half and half with acrylic matte medium. I used discarded plastic jar lids as my paint containers. I put dabs of all the different colors of paint on a rubber roller and started rolling colors around, making what looked like a monster mess.

The process of painting the paper for one of my Heart Cube Boxes.

The process of painting the paper for one of my Heart Cube Boxes.

After the entire page was covered in paint, I mixed acrylic interference blue with acrylic matte medium (again about half and half) and spread it all over the painted paper. You can see in the photo above how it starts to change the colors on the lower photo. I’ve painted just a little bit of the painted paper with the interference blue.

The process of painting the paper for one of my Heart Cube Boxes.

The process of painting the paper for one of my Heart Cube Boxes. The top photo is before adding the interference blue along with a bit of interference gold.

For my first paper I used acrylic interference blue. My second paper included both interference blue and interference gold. For my third and forth papers, I just used acrylic interference gold. Play around with different acrylic colors and interference colors and see how the colors change. It’s fun. Play!

Painting papers for two more Heart Cube Boxes.

Painting papers for two more Heart Cube Boxes.

There’s no one right or wrong way to do this. Just play and have fun. I’m including the template for making this box.

I painted the paper for these Heart Cube Boxes.

I painted the paper for these Heart Cube Boxes.

Template: Cube Heart Box Template

Enjoy, Candy

Sketching Main St Railroad Crossing

Sketching On My Mind

Yesterday was another lovely January day in Talent, so a sketching trip to the nearby local railroad depot was in order.

Talent OR: Sketching Railroad Crossing Main St

Look At Light Pattern

When considering a place to sit and draw, I look at how light is falling on my would be subject.  It was about an hour before sun down so I needed to hustle and find a view facing west.  The railroad depot was on my mind since its close by and has a west-facing side.

Unfortunately for drawing purposes, the west facing side is blocked by a fence.  No matter, I decided to draw the crossing gate in front of the depot, with city buildings in the distant horizon.

Crossing Guard Shapes

Drawing the crossing guard was fun; I’d never paid attention to all that hardware!  In order to make sense out of all this “stuff”, I focused on the interesting shapes.

Sketching With Pencil

You may notice that today I’m drawing only with pencil.  I have a new book that I’m working through titled “The Urban Sketcher” by Marc Taro Holmes, Citizen Sketcher.  I’m working through the first chapter.  The first exercises are with graphite.

I think sketching with graphite (pencil) is a great way to learn something new.  Its also a great way to get to know a new subject or revisit an old one.  Its a simple, portable and readily available tool.  I like this simple, powerful instrument, come to think of it!  Pencil drawings are part of my daily workout.

Talent Train Depot

Drawing Talent Series: Different Views

I have drawn our depot before from a different points of view back in 2014 as part of my “Drawing Talent” series of sketches.  On the post I did in September of 2014,  I included a bit of history about the railroad depot building.  Just a teaser, there really was a person with a last name of “Talent”.  And the depot was sent to us by rail!

The small ball point pen study is from the west side of the depot.  The watercolor and ink sketch below is of the south side of the building.

So, I’ve drawn the place at least three times.  Could be I need to visit this subject multiple times!  I went by today and in the morning light, noticed lots of great places to draw and paint.  In time, I think I might like to do some full size paintings of this subject.

More Talent Changes

Much like yesterday’s post about the “Funky Fashion” building, things have changed at the Talent depot and railroad crossing.  For one thing, the tracks are active again!  Two years ago, there were no trains running through Talent.  In 2015, the trains started up again.  So, when sketching near the tracks, I need to be alert.  Fortunately, the train had just past by before I left for the drawing session.

Another change is that we are getting a new cafe on the south end of the depot building.  I’ve been watching them prepare the facility.  It will be called “Cantina Vida”; I look forward to its opening.  On another day, I’ll do a sketch with the cantina.

Thank you.

I hope you enjoy my sketches and Talent’s railroad depot.

Daily Habit: Drawing Talent Series

Share

The post Sketching Main St Railroad Crossing appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

Adding Wildlife to Your Paintings

People who know me know that I love painting Wildlife en Plein Air. Sketching animals and birds in their natural habitat is a favorite painting activity of mine and I always look forward to the challenge. I find that painting on location enhances my perspective and understanding of the scene that I want to capture on canvas. Often I imagine what the composition would look like if a magnificent Ram passed through my line of sight and I had the opportunity to paint him into my composition. In this piece called “Bighorn Sheep On the Edge,” I was painting Mount Shasta after a snow storm, on a pass called Military Road.

At one time Bighorn Sheep inhabited Mount Shasta and the surrounding mountain slopes near Shasta Valley. Knowing this makes it effortless to imagine that a magnificent beast like this bighorn sheep could walk by. The best time to add wildlife into your plein air sketches is at the time you find them and are watching them. You can actually capture the proportions and movement by drawing a few shapes indicating a back, head and legs on your canvas or sketch pad. These shapes help the right side of the brain fill in the rest, much like looking at clouds passing by and noticing how the shapes become objects, animals and people, etc.

After studying the anatomy of animals for quite some time, I noticed that wild animals have anatomies similar to a common cat, dog or horse. Also, if you take photos of animals and wildlife, you get study them in the studio and use them to create some of jester lines, muscles and fur that make the animal look like the one you observed in the field. When you are painting a wild animal in on canvas, one does need to understand the environment where the animal lives. However, be sensible with your choices and don’t put an elephant in a Vermont pastoral scene when a moose would be more appropriate.

Next time when you are painting on location, try to imagine a moose, elk or a bighorn sheep passing by your easel, giving you an opportunity to paint it into your sketch. You will be amazed at how interesting the experience can be.

The post Adding Wildlife to Your Paintings appeared first on Stefan Baumann – The Grand View: Paintings by Stefan Baumann.

The Building Formerly Known As “Funky Fashions”

Sketching Local Building

Yesterday I took advantage of some afternoon sun and went out to sketch a local building.  Because it was afternoon, I wanted to draw something that was facing the west.  What better place to work on than the place formerly known as “Funky Fashions”?

Building Formerly Known as Funky Fashions, Talent OR

“Drawing Talent”

I’d like to give a little backstory to our subject building.  I live in Talent, OR.  Back in 2014, I thought I’d start a series of watercolor and ink studies I called “Drawing Talent”.  One of the first places I drew was “Funky Fashions”.

Cheerful Consignment Shop

“Funky Fashions” was owned by my neighbor Lisa; it was special.  It was a sweet consignment shop right down town.  It was also on my morning running route.  Most days I’d pass by and note the cheerful window displays.  Lisa had plants and a bench out front.

First Drawing – Spring Cheer

The first time I sketched the building was in May of 2014.  It was a brilliant, sunny spring day.  While I was sketching, Lisa came out and sat on the bench, enjoying the afternoon light.  Naturally, I went over and chatted with her after I was done.

Building Closed

Almost two years later, the shop sits closed.  It is no longer “Funky Fashions”, except in spirit.  Lisa has retired and moved on.

I’d say the shop area looks vacant, but it may not be.  The windows are curtained up.  About a week ago it looked like someone was doing something to the interior.  Its not the cheerful place it was.

Winter Sketch

In the soft light of winter, the building almost looks dormant or asleep.  It is waiting for a new occupant to breath life into it.  Like many of the business buildings in Talent OR, tenants come and go.  This is only one of several buildings that have changed since I started my drawing Talent series.

Traffic Has Changed

You might notice that the signage in front of the building has changed.  This is due to the re-routing of traffic in our historic downtown.  There used to be a stop sign in front of the “Funky Fashions” building; now there is different sign.  The stop sign is a block north.

Tree City

On a positive note, there is a newly planted tree in front of the building.  Talent is a “tree city”.  We like trees and they do a good job growing here.

It was fun re-visiting the “Funky Fashions” building.  I am including both watercolor and ink drawings – almost an after and before!  I hope you enjoy them!

Funky Fashion Building, May 2014

 

Share

The post The Building Formerly Known As “Funky Fashions” appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

Studio Snapshot – Learning My New Camera

I bought a new camera this week. While I love my little iPod touch’s camera, I have been asked to send higher quality images of my art to be printed in books and catalogs. So, much of this past week has been spent getting to know my new camera.

All the photos on this blog post (except this one) were taken with this camera.

All the photos on this blog post (except this one) were taken with this camera.

So, here is what I’ve been taking photos of this past week. Some shots are from my studio and some from a couple of local shops here in Ashland, Oregon.

Two shelves in my home studio.

Two shelves in my home studio.

My last high quality camera used film. Technology has changed a lot since then. The number of menu options is mindboggling. But as the past week progressed, I learned enough to take photos and get them on to my computer so I could check them out in Photoshop.

Two shelves in my home studio.

Two shelves in my home studio.

While it will take a long time to get to really know what is possible with this camera, I think I’ve got the basics down enough to take acceptable photos to send to publications. And that was my goal.

My "orange" shelf in my studio.

“Orange” shelf in my home studio.

I realize I have just scratched the surface with learning how to use my camera. Looking at the instruction booklet, it looks as though there are 128 different menu options that I can use. That’s not counting the numerous dials and buttons.

Two shelves from my home studio.

Two shelves in my home studio.

I’m sure I’ll become more confident using my camera as I get more practice.

My latest tea bag folded rosette.

I’m still playing with folding tea bag wrappers. Here’s a look at my latest rosette.

For those of you who are interested, I got a Sony a6000. I told my camera guru what I wanted to use the camera for, and this is what he recommended. I am pleased my the results so far.

Paper yarn from one of my favorite shops, Websters, in Ashland, Oregon.

Paper yarn from one of my favorite shops, Websters, in Ashland, Oregon.

The photos above and below are two shops in Ashland. They both graciously allowed me to take photos of some paper products they had in their shop. Obviously, I have more to learn about taking quality photos, but I hope you enjoy seeing what they have to offer.

Marbled paper bags from Jupiter Row in Ashland, Oregon.

Marbled paper bags from Jupiter Row in Ashland, Oregon.

Enjoy, Candy

 

Nix Perfection; Flawed Is Good

Thinking About Perfection and Seth Godin

Perfection…is it a good thing?

Perfection in the Flaws - Piggy

I was fixing my second (or was it third?) cup of espresso this morning.  Into my head popped the thought that I bet Seth Godin’s blog posts aren’t perfect everyday.  I wonder what his percentages are; how many times does he hit it out of the proverbial park?

Maybe because he posts most days, he gets pretty darn good results.

Hmmm… the espresso was nearly perfect.  It was good enough.  :)

Its About Me

So, how does this apply to me and what’s the point?

First I thought about this blog.  I get wrapped around SEO (search engine optimization) requirements.  I have Yoest SEO plug in and tells me things about SEO and how to improve my blog.  It’s like a high school multiple choice test – I try to get a near perfect answer.

But do you care?  And, why do I care?

Hmmm, maybe if I work on writing daily or most days.  It doesn’t have to be long or perfect; just thoughtful.  Maybe that would be a good idea.

Writing My Stories

I believe in our world, it’s a good idea for artists, including me, to be able to tell our stories.  And, tell them in an interesting and personal way.  It helps people have a way into seeing our work.  That’s why I care.  And, the best way to get good at writing is to write and do it often!  Oh, perfection is not the point.

Problem with Perfection In Artwork

What does this have to do with painting?  I think that when I try to achieve perfection, I risk losing the freshness and poetry of painting.  I risk a powerful way of communicating directly.

Somewhere along the way, I heard a story that Japanese master ceramic artists will purposely ensure their pieces are not perfect.  They allow the hand of the artist.  Beauty and individuality is found in the imperfections.

Flawed Is Good

So, there we are.  I’m not in the perfection business.  Maybe not even in the near perfection or almost perfect business either.   Perhaps art and beauty are in the flawed business.  Works for me!

With that, I’ll leave you with a flawed, but hopefully poetic painting of Piggy.  I painted him with watercolor and drew in ink.  He’s one of my daily paintings.

Notes

*Mr. Seth Godin is a blogger, author and public speaker.  He talks about marketing and entrepreneurship.  Mostly, I like his writings because they apply to lots of different situations.  I can relate.

Oh, there are some people who are and need to be in the perfection business.  Rocket scientists come to mind.  Not me though; I don’t need to be perfect!  Phew!  I sure try sometimes!  😉

 

Share

The post Nix Perfection; Flawed Is Good appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

DIY – Making Heart Garlands

I think what I like most about Valentine’s Day is hearts. I love hearts! And around Valentine’s Day, I get to play with them for weeks on end. Over the years I have made a number of different heart garlands. So here’s a bunch of them along with instructions or links to the instructions from past blog posts.

I used red, dark pink and purple papers along with some beads to make this paper folded heart garland.

My Folded Paper Heart Garland is made with red, dark pink and purple papers along with thread and some beads.

Below are some photos of a super easy heart garland. All that is necessary are strips of paper and a stapler. It’s a perfect activity to share with a young child.

A strip of paper and a stapler are all you need to make this heart garland.

A strip of paper and a stapler are all you need to make this heart garland.

For this garland I cut 3/4″ strips out of a couple of 8 1/2″ by 11″ red papers. You can use multiple colors to make you heart garland. You can use double sided scrapbook pages too.

You can see the staples on this photo.

You can see the staples on this photo. The staples are actually hot pink staples which were a gift from a friend. I love how they look on this garland.

And, should you want something a little more “professional” looking, just use glue instead of a stapler. Glue stick dries quicker than a liquid glue, but any glue will work.

Red and white heart garland made with strips of paper 1/2" x 6"

Red and white heart garland made with strips of paper 1/2″ x 6″. I used glue stick rather than staples on this garland.

Another heart garland can be made by sewing paper hearts, like I have with the heart garlands below.  While I prefer to sew by hand, you could use a sewing machine which would speed up the process.

"String of Hearts" hand sewn with metallic gold thread (about 6' long)

Rainbow Heart Garland, perfect for any time of year, not just Valentine’s Day!

I like to fold 2 hearts together and sew them with a coordinating thread. I use either embroidery thread or waxed linen thread. I add a few beads at the bottom and a loop at the top.

My Spring Heart Garland has bright colors that remind me Spring flowers that are now blooming.

My Spring Heart Garland has bright colors that remind me Spring flowers.

By changing the colors of the hearts, I have made heart garlands for more than just Valentine’s Day. I have used green hearts for St. Patrick’s Day, spring colored to celebrate spring and pastel pink and purple hearts for Easter. You could even make a red and green garland for the Christmas season. You can find instructions for this type of garland on my blog post: DIY Saint Patrick’s Day Paper Garland.

My finished garland is about 8 feet long.

Heart garland in colors perfect for St. Patrick’s Day.

Did I mention that I love heart garlands? My folded heart garland is my favorite of all garlands. I made this one last year and I have had it hanging in my studio ever since. Instructions on my blog post: DIY Folded Paper Heart Garland.

Folded Paper Heart Garland finished.

Folded Paper Heart Garland finished.

Not exactly a heart garland, but you could make multiple and make them into one, is the hanging heart ornament. Instructions on my blog post: DIY Hanging Paper Heart Ornaments.

One of my paper Valentine Hanging Heart Ornaments for the Ashland Art Center front window.

One of my paper Valentine Hanging Heart Ornaments.

Wishing you all a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Enjoy, Candy

Daily Habit – Watercolor & Ink Drawings

Habit for 2016

Greetings!  I would like share with you my ideas about a daily habit I’m adopting this 2016.  My intention in this post is to outline the why, what and how I’m going to establish this daily habit.

Daily Habit Watercolor & Ink Study

Inspiration

I follow artist Myrna Wacknov’s blog titled her “Creativity Journey”.  At the beginning of the year, she wrote that she intends on doing daily iPAD drawings.  The purpose is to improve her ability to use digital media.  I watched Ms. Wacknov do daily drawings before and was impressed by her results.

What I’m Doing

After reading Myrna’s post, I had the idea to form my own daily habit.  I thought I might do daily watercolor and ink studies.  That’s most days for a year, or longer.  That’s the point of a habit, isn’t it?  You make a good habit part of your daily (my) routine.

Why A Daily Habit?

The easy answer is that I’ve seen the positive results that happen when I stick to a daily habit.  To explain, years ago I wanted to start a personal exercise program, one I could stick to and would be good for my health.  I decided to develop the habit of running every day.  With trial and error, I settled on a morning running habit.  It helped that my life and work encouraged a morning running routine.  What I discovered was that establishing a daily habit helped me move past procrastination and distraction.  Plus, I improved my running ability.

Daily Habit; Painting While Camping

Why Watercolor and Ink?

I have good reasons to select watercolor and ink studies as my habit.  My big reasons follow.

  • I like doing watercolor and ink studies when my husband and I travel and camp.   I want to have a strong habit of doing these studies before we go anywhere.  In that way, I’ll make sure I do them!  The study from Kershaw-Ryan State Park is an example of a study done on a camping trip.
  • I agreed to do a demonstration of watercolor and ink  drawing for a local art society.  I better be prepared!
  • I like doing the studies!
  • I want to resume my “Drawing Talent” project, that is getting in the habit of doing regular watercolor and ink studies of my home town- Talent OR.  (See the railroad depot  below).

Daily Habit: Drawing Talent Series

My Plan

Be simple and direct.  I figure that’s the best way for me to adopt a good habit.  My plan is to do, as a minimum, one study per day in one of the empty watercolor journals I have laying around my studio.  That way, I fill the journals.  And, I feel free to experiment.  Oh, and yes, one needs to have a way to hold oneself accountable.  So, here’s the plan.

  • Pick a subject for the week.  I’ve been using simple still life set ups.
  • Start out working in gray.  Move to color studies.
  • Toward the end of the week, do a painting on good watercolor paper.
  • Keep a spread sheet tracking daily drawings.
  • Have fun.

January to Date

So far, my plan’s been working for January.  I think I have missed a day.  When I miss one, then I can always catch up.  Or, start again the next day.  Skies won’t fall if I miss a day.

I think this is an important point to remember when creating new habits.  If a day is missed, I need to make sure I don’t feel like I’ve failed.  I just resume the habit the next day or as soon as practical.  I define success as most days.

Daily Habit 4 Jan 16

Tracking Results

This past weekend, I was feeling frustrated about my work production.  I was feeling like I haven’t been doing anything.  Not true!  I have lots of drawings and paintings to support my work.

However, I didn’t have any tools that I could look at immediately to see how much work I’ve been doing.  Solution?  I set up a spreadsheet that I will use to track my daily effort.  And, I can see how the dailies fit into my larger plan for 2016.

Next – Draw & Paint!

So, there’s the idea and plan.  I’ve included a few of my watercolor and ink drawings to show that I’ve started working.  If the habit becomes ingrained, I figure you might see a year end review blog post!

 

Thank you!

Share

The post Daily Habit – Watercolor & Ink Drawings appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.